by Pat Ciarrocchi, Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you’re going to watch the Broad Street Run on Sunday, the very latest technology will be watching you. There will be a new set of eyes where no one else is watching.
Philadelphia Police unveiled Tuesday a portable surveillance system that will be deployed to “watch” the race, just in case of trouble.
The system, known as “Sentry,” is a portable, self-powered, wireless surveillance system. The system can see for a kilometer, record what it sees, and if there is an incident, can store video that could become key to an investigation.
“This is just one of many different tactics, techniques and procedures that we’ll be implementing,” said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan.
Sentry is mobile, loaded onto a trailer, with day/night vision cameras and sensors, designed to keep an eye where a security camera network might not exist.
“They can be remotely controlled – pan, tilt, zoom,” said Sullivan.
If a perimeter of a monitored area is violated, the system sends an alert to a hand held device, a smart phone or I-Pad.
Sullivan says police hope to employ them at all the big outdoor events coming up in the next several months.
“[Police will employ the system] To help us bridge the gap where we know there isn’t a lot of video equipment either city or private-owned,” said Sullivan.
The importance of video has been recognized long before Boston, but Boston has reinforced that. Video from surveillance cameras near the finish line of the Boston Marathon revealed the suspicious behavior of the Tsarnaev brothers, who had back packs, then didn’t. That was moments before the deadly explosions.
Sentry – manufactured by a company based in Doylestown – will be on duty at the Broad Street Run, but police won’t say where.
The city is borrowing one camera from SEPTA, which bought one just a few weeks ago and has already caught would-be copper thieves in two different incidents. The company that makes them, S4W, is lending the city another. It’s also lending four to the U.S. Open in Merion. Each camera costs about a quarter million dollars.